Dhaka: Bangladesh authorities, under Chinese pressure, barred a prominent picture gallery here from holding a photo exhibition depicting the plight of Tibetans, prompting organisers to stage the show outside its premises in defiance.
The Drik Gallery at the capital`s posh Dhanmondi area was sealed by police ahead of the opening of the exhibition last evening. However organisers defied orders from police and requests from Chinese embassy and staged it outside the venue.
"The show was closed on directives of the higher authorities as prior permission was not sought for the controversial exhibition," an official of the Dhanmondi police station said, without elaborating.
The Prothom Alo and other newspapers reported that two Chinese diplomats earlier went to the venue to request organisers to stop the display. The Students for a Free Tibet and Drik were to stage the show jointly.
"The images feature invent of the Tibetan people, their plight, deprivation and sufferings caused by the Chinese government," said an organiser of the students` group.
Drik Gallery`s Shahidul Alam called the police intervention surprising and said, "a foreign country`s dictation as to what to be on display is humiliating".
A Chinese embassy spokesman later said that they wanted the exhibition to be stopped since it was aimed at drumming up support for Tibetan independence while "friendly
Bangladesh supports One China Policy".
"We firmly believe Bangladesh will not allow anyone to use its land for any anti-China activity," the embassy official said.
Professor Muzaffer Ahmad, a leading economist and chairman of the Berlin-based corruption watchdog Transparency International`s Bangladesh chapter, who inaugurated the programme outside the gallery said "we have the right to know of the neighbouring countries. It is our freedom".